Thursday 11 November '10 show notes

Thursday 11 November '10 show notes

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Is a Food Bubble Coming?
Many of you may remember back in 2008 - as our economy was heading into full meltdown - there was also a food crisis hitting the entire globe. The price of wheat skyrocketed - creating panic around the world. 2008 became the first year in human history that the population of those who went hungry increased - an increase of more than 250 million people - in a single year! More than a billion people bordered on starvation. The food crisis was even felt in America where 49 million people struggled to feed themselves and demand for food stamps and soup kitchens increased considerably.
It was chaos.
But there was something strange about the 2008 food crisis and the price of wheat that caused it. Simply - there was no shortage of wheat. In fact - 2008 yielded the largest amount of wheat in the history of the world! 657 million bushels weren't sold at all! There was a record breaking surplus! So - with such an enormous supply of wheat - what caused prices to shoot up?
The answer is on Wall St.
In 1991 - Goldman Sachs was looking for another financial instrument to sell. They were tired of speculating with debt and real estate and realized the new horizon was food. So they created an index of commodities like cattle - corn - and wheat - that they could then sell to investors. As more and more investors bought into the food index - prices began to rise. So despite there being plenty of wheat - prices continued to climb thanks to investors purchasing more and more future food commodities. And in 2008 - "The Economist" noted that food prices had increased to a level not seen since 1845.
A bubble was being created - thanks to Goldman Sachs.
But - as then Chairman of the Kansas City Board of Trade pointed out, "This isn't just any commodity - It is food - and people need to eat." He was right - Wall Street bankers had manipulated the price of the most basic need for everyone on the planet - food - and the effects of the gamble rippled across the entire globe with hundreds of thousand of people dying of starvation. Meanwhile Goldman made a killing in profits - literally. Eventually - the bubble burst and prices returned to normal - but the damage was already done. The food crisis of 2008 was merely a by-product of loose oversight in our markets and millionaires and billionaires who had more money than they knew what to do with - thanks to the Reagan and Bush tax cuts.
This should be a lesson learned, right?
In today's "Financial Times" there was a story about food prices in the US spiking again. Due to extreme weather the US Agriculture Department once again cut crop forecasts and warned of a shortage in grain production. Corn yield estimates have now been cut for a third month in a row causing the price to jump to $6 a bushel for the first time since back in 2008. Cotton and soybeans also posted high prices reminiscent of the 2008 global food crisis. As food prices are on the rise - will Wall St. jump in the game again? After all - what else are they going to do with their billions?
Rinse, wash, repeat.
(How are you preparing for the food bubble? Tell us here.)
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Today on the Big Picture...Is the White House caving to Republicans again? On RT TV at 9pm and 11pm... (check your local listings for stations or stream at RT, and catch past shows on Youtube)
Today you "Need to Know" Is the White House caving to Republicans again? – have they given in on Bush Tax Cuts? With Shaunna Thomas, PCCC Capitol Hill Director.
Screwed! GOP seeking an exemption for the collections Industry...are they crazy? Guest: Dan Gainor, Vice President and T. Boone Pickens Free Market Fellow at the Business and Media Institute.
"Best of the Rest" of the News...Iraq & Afghanistan...when will it ever be over, over there? With Robert Greenwald, Brave New Films and the re-released "ReThink Afghanistan".
Plus on Veterans Day Thom talks to guests from Afghan and Iraq vets against the war: Josh Steiber, former soldier of the company documented in the first video recently released by Wikileaks, and Jake Diliberto, veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Also, we send our soldiers to fight and die, can't we do better by them when they become damaged by war? Thom talks to soldier Jeff Hanks who is turning himself in to military authorities today.
Crazy Alert! French judge says French automaker Renault can call its new electric car, “Zoe”, despite the protests of girls named Zoe.
Daily Take: China will overtake the US as the world’s biggest economy by 2012, or within two years.
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Rebooting the American Dream

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Quote: "In war, there are no unwounded soldiers." -- José Narosky.
Hour One: Why aren't our soldiers getting the help they need? Thom talks with Army Infantryman Jeff Hanks, soldier who went AWOL to get help for stress and anxiety, and is turning himself in today.
Article: "White House Gives In On Bush Tax Cuts" by Howard Fineman and Sam Stein.
Letter: "to Edgar Newton Eisenhower, November 8, 1954" by Dwight Eisenhower. "Their number is negligible and they are stupid."
Post: "United States public debt" by Wikipedia.
Article: the introduction to "Rebooting the American Dream" by Thom Hartmann.
Article: "The crux of the issue" by Greg Sargent.

Hour Two: Is the White House about to cave on the Bush tax cuts? Thom talks with Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL, 9th district).

Hour Three: Don't start the revolution without me...?! Thom has a rumble with Dan Gainor with Dan Gainor of the Business and Media Institute.
Book: "The Anti-American Manifesto" by Ted Rall.
Movie: "Inside Job".
Movie: "Fair Game".
Article: Tax Cuts: The B.S. and the Facts By Larry Beinhart, November 11, 2008.
The good: "General Electric’s Buying 25,000 Electric Cars" by Chuck Squatriglia.
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Rebooting the American Dream
“Capital” Hill. End the revolving door between government and industry
“Capital” Hill is renowned for politicians taking money from lobbyists, then taking advantage of the reolving door and becoming lobbyists themselves. Hiring lobbyists and politicians is a very good investment for the large corporations that can afford it.
As Jeffrey H. Birnbaum noted in the Washington Post in June 2005, “The number of registered lobbyists in Washington has more than doubled since 2000 to more than 34,750 while the amount that lobbyists charge their new clients has increased by as much as 100 percent. Only a few other businesses have enjoyed greater prosperity in an otherwise fitful economy.” He added that “lobbying firms can’t hire people fast enough” and that salaries started at $300,000 a year. “Big bucks lobbying is luring nearly half of all lawmakers who return to the private sector when they leave Congress,” Birnbaum noted, citing a study by Public Citizen’s Congress Watch. The situation has only gotten worse since then.
One of the primary goals of lobbyists is to affect legislation – introduce new bills or amendments, slip in key provisions, kill bills, and so on. But just as important is to affect regulations being considered by a myriad of federal agencies that could have huge financial impacts on the lobbyists’ corporate clients. So when the lobbyists have friends in the White House, as they did with George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, they actually get to take over the regulatory agencies through appointments.
I give examples of these practices in "Rebooting". It wasn’t always this way. The practice should end.
Read more in chapter six, "Make Congressmen Wear Nascar Patches" of "Rebooting the American Dream".
Watch & Listen to Thom
Jim Dean, Chair of Democracy for America - What Progressives do now
Jim Dean, Chair of Democracy for America - What Progressives do now
Youth were treated as after thought on Election Day
Youth were treated as after thought on Election Day
Thom and Louise Hartmann founded the New England Salem Children's Village in New Hampshire in 1979. With states delaying payment for the children they entrust to the village, they need help with cash flow urgently. Please help if you can.
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phil b.
phil b.'s picture
As we all know by now, the

As we all know by now, the Republicans are having their convention in "stand your ground" Florida. There will be many protesters there durning this time. Is any 99%er worried about the "stand your ground" law that we all have became very aware of lately? The right or the 1%er's could cause a bunch of trouble if they plant a few trouble makers with loaded guns and a certain mindset of using this ALEC promoted law as a shield from prosecution. Precations or plans to avoid this problem have to be made to our 99% brothers and sisters!